09/30/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/01/2021 07:08
A couple was treated for injuries and released Wednesday evening after a bear attack in the parking area of the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The couple was having a picnic on a grassy hill near the Folk Art Center, when they were alerted to a bear by their dog. The unleashed dog ran towards the bear while barking loudly. Likely aggravated by the dog, the bear acted defensively toward the dog and the couple. Over the next several minutes, there were repeated attacks by the bear while the couple retreated with their dog to the safety of their vehicle. The couple drove to Mission Hospital where they were both treated for their injuries and released.
Due to the bold and aggressive nature of this attack, temporary closures are in place on all trails in the area and outdoor food is currently prohibited.
Closures and restrictions include:
During the busy fall visitation season on the Parkway, visitors are reminded that the fall is also a critical feeding period for bears before they enter winter hibernation. Park visitors are reminded to take necessary precautions and be BearWise while in bear country, including properly following food storage regulations, keeping pets leashed and remaining at a safe viewing distance from bears. If attacked by a black bear, rangers strongly recommend fighting back with any object available and remember that bears may view you and your pets as prey. Though rare, attacks on humans do occur, and can cause injuries or death.
Park rangers and wildlife biologists, in coordination with NC Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC), are attempting to capture the bear and conducting and foot patrols of the immediate area. A thorough investigation of the scene was conducted and forensic evidence was collected to be used for DNA analysis. If the offending bear is captured and positively identified, officials will humanely euthanize the animal, per park and NCWRC protocol.
More bear safety tips are available on the Parkway's Bear Safety page and about bear safety with dogs at Bearwise.org. If you encounter a bear while on the Parkway, call (828) 298-2491 or stop at the nearest Visitor Center to report it.